Do you have a morning routine? Most of us do – even if we never officially set out to create one. Think about it. What do you do from the time that you wake up until the time that you leave for work, school, or whatever thing consists of your day? Maybe you quickly roll out of bed, throw on some clothes, and go – or maybe you have an entire 2 hour routine. Either way, it’s probably pretty similar from day to day. As humans, we are creatures of habit, and we tend to stick to what we know.
Now, next question. Does your morning routine include some sort of movement? Maybe some yoga, a jog, a visit to the gym, or even just some stretching? Studies have shown that fitting movement into your morning routine has MANY benefits- and today I want to share some of these benefits with you. So buckle up, and here we go!
5 Benefits of Morning Movement
Firstly, I want to point out that I said “movement”, not “hard core workout” or “intense sweat session”. If those things appeal to you, that’s great! Those can totally apply to this post. But the following points are going to be regarding morning movement in general – whether that’s a vigorous workout OR a simple walk around the neighborhood. Anytime I mention “exercise”, “workout”, or “movement” throughout this post, I am referring to anything that simply gets your muscles moving!
I’d also like to include a quick disclaimer to remind you that I am not a medical professional or a doctor. However, I am an educated health & wellness professional who loves to share health-related information and open up conversations about it so that you can make the choices that are best for you! If you are interested in the deeper science behind any of the below points, I will link to some helpful articles and studies throughout the post.
1. You start your day on a positive note
Exercising causes your nervous system to release feel-good endorphins – these are basically chemicals that naturally act to reduce stress and boost your mood. In fact, many medical professionals recommend exercise to help lower the symptoms of mild depression or anxiety for this very reason!
You may be thinking “but I can exercise at any point in the day to experience this mood boost” – and that’s right, you can! You will experience these positive affects of exercise no matter what time of day you choose to move. However, if you fit in some movement in the morning, this mood boost can start your day on a positive note so that your overall mood for the whole day is likely improved. So if you want to cultivate a more positive mood for your day, try to move when you first wake up!
2. You set a healthier mindset for your day
We already established that morning movement can start your day on a positive note, but it can set a healthier mindset as well! By choosing to do something that is good for both your body and mind first thing in the morning, you are essentially setting a tone for your entire day and establishing a healthier mindset. Whether you realize it or not, this may encourage you to make healthier choices throughout your day – such as choosing meals with more whole foods, or even fitting more physical activity into your overall day with simple choices like taking the stairs. Basically, starting your day with some movement creates a domino effect so that you continue making healthy choices as your day goes on!
3. You are fueling your body for a productive day
On top of a positive day and a healthier day, you can ALSO have a more productive day! Firstly, you’re starting your day by BEING productive and fitting in some movement. If you get into the habit of working out in the morning, it’s less likely that something else will come up to prevent you from actually doing it. Scheduling our workouts for later in the day can be tricky because it’s more likely that plans will change, other things may come up, or you may simply get too tired. Sure, these things can theoretically still happen in the morning – but by scheduling it first thing, you’re less likely to have those other conflicts.
On top of starting out productive, however, you are also more likely to have a productive day even after that workout! We often wake up feeling a little bit groggy, and by working out and boosting those endorphins that we talked about earlier, you are basically pushing yourself out of that grogginess so that you enter into the rest of your day with a clear mind, positive attitude, and more energy – which is a great formula to set you up for productivity!
4. You may experience better sleep
A regular morning routine on its own already has improved effects on sleep, but there have specifically been studies done to show that working out in the morning has positive effects on sleep! It’s been found that fitting movement into our morning routine positively effects the internal clock in our bodies – when bedtime comes around you may fall asleep quicker, wakeup less throughout the night, and spend more time in deep sleep. This means that you will get a better nights sleep and feel more rested overall.
5. You can better focus on your workout
As already mentioned, you’re less likely to have other obligations that get in the way of working out if you workout in the morning. But, in addition, you can also get in a better workout because you are less distracted and able to put more focus on your workout itself. If you workout when you first wakeup, before you’ve scrolled through social media or watched the news, you don’t have as much on your mind and are still unplugged. Plus, you are less likely to get distracted by work or friends, since work hasn’t started yet and your friends are probably still waking up themselves. It’s easier to focus on your workout and listen to your body when you don’t have as many distractions, meaning that your workout itself will likely be improved and possibly even more effective!
Should you fit movement into your morning?
Now, I’m the first one to tell you that ULTIMATELY the best time to workout is WHEN IT WORKS BEST FOR YOU. Some people simply do not like working out in the morning, or maybe it just doesn’t work with their schedule, and that is a-okay. You’ll still very likely experience great benefits of exercise anytime of day. However, if you’re trying to establish a more consistent workout routine and you think that fitting some movement into your morning could work for you, these are some great examples of the benefits that may come with that!
I’d also like to point out that changing routines and habits is HARD. If you have had a solid morning routine for most of your life that doesn’t require movement, give yourself time to ease into this if you decide to try it. Maybe try it just a couple days a week to start, or begin by doing a short 15 minute morning workout. Once you get used to that, then you can slowly add more to it if you choose.
It’s also important to do the type of movement that YOU want to do! If you are working out first thing in the morning, this is literally what is getting you out of bed. Pick something that you are excited for so that it’s easier to get up and do it! You could run, walk, go for a bike ride, do yoga, dance around your living room, meet a friend at the gym, follow some youtube videos, do whatever makes YOU happiest. You’re more likely to stick with it if you truly enjoy it!
Well, there you have it – 5 benefits behind morning movement! Let me know in the comments if your morning routine includes movement, or what your thoughts are on the topic! I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time, stay well!